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Client: Tidal Ventures Limited
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Description

OpenHydro and utility Bord Gáis (now Brookfield Renewable Energy Group) set up a joint venture, Tidal Ventures Limited (TVL), and were awarded exclusive rights to develop a 100 MW tidal energy farm just off Torr Head on the north coast of Antrim in October 2012.

In April 2014, Xodus was appointed by TVL to carry out an EIA of the Project and prepare an Environmental Statement (ES) for submission to the Department of Environment Northern Ireland (DoENI) Marine Division and Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) in support of the required Marine Licence and Article 39 consent applications. To inform development of the offshore Project description, Xodus (and sub consultants Fehily Timoney & Company) carried out a landfall appraisal study and onshore feasibility study respectively in order to identify potential landfall and substation locations. This information was then used by TVL to inform the development of the Project description for the offshore Project.

Part of the initial phase of the EIA work carried out by Xodus also involved working with TVL, DoENI Marine Division and other stakeholders to define the detailed scope of specialists studies identified as being required for the EIA during the scoping process. This included, in particular, agreeing a strategy for basing the assessment of impacts on marine mammals and seabirds on 12 months of survey data.

The applications for a Marine Licence and Article 39 Consent were submitted to Northern Ireland Department of the Environment Marine Division and Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment respectively for the offshore elements of the project in April 2015. Preparation of a planning application in respect of the onshore elements is underway. The project will have the capacity to generate 100 MW of energy and will entail substantial local and regional investment.

Scope
  • Onshore feasibility study and cable landfall assessment
  • Definition of the Rochdale (Design) Envelope for the EIA
  • Consultation and agreement on EIA study scopes with the regulator and other key stakeholders
  • Commissioning and management of a benthic and intertidal survey of the AfL area, export cable corridor and landfall
  • Marine mammal encounter modelling to inform marine mammal impact assessment
  • Consultation with regulator and key stakeholders, including interviews and meeting with local fishermen
  • Underwater noise modelling to support fish and marine mammal impact assessments
  • In house production of specialist ES chapters: benthic and intertidal ecology, marine mammals, coastal processes and sediment dynamics, fish and shellfish ecology, commercial fisheries, SLVIA, accidental events and other sea users
  • Preparation of Environmental Statement
  • Preparation of Habitat Regulations Assessment
  • Preparation for and participation in public consultation event in Ballycastle
  • Coordination and management of specialist subcontractor studies and ES chapter production: marine archaeology, ornithology, socio-economics, recreation and tourism
  • Support during consent determination

Value Added

  • Implmentation of key lessons learnt from the successful consenting of the worlds first tidal array; MeyGen, Scotland
  • Development of an appropriate and proportionate EIA scope, building on the previously completed scoping report and focusing on the issues of greatest concern, including negotiation of scopes with the regulator
  • Incorporation of local content in the delivery of the EIA through use of local subcontractors wherever possible
  • Integrated, multidiscipline approach to the development of the project description (Rochdale Envelope) to inform the EIA